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GAME ON DUDE ‘HORSE OF MEET’ IN MEDIA POLL
Baffert, Bejarano Earn Honors as Top Trainer and Jockey
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 21, 2013) – Game On Dude, who set a record for largest margin of victory in the Santa Anita Handicap when he won by 7 ¾ lengths on March 2 to become only the fourth two-time winner of the marquee race, was named Horse of the Meet in Santa Anita’s 2012-13 Winter/Spring Media Poll.
Game On Dude joined John Henry, Milwaukee Brew and Lava Man as the only horses to win the storied classic twice in its 76 runnings at The Great Race Place.
“His Big Cap win was pretty breathtaking,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who conditions the 6-year-old Awesome Again gelding owned by baseball great Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride LLC, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable LLC and Bernie Schiappa. “The fans will remember that race for a long time. It was pretty amazing.”
Game On Dude also was named the meet’s outstanding Older Horse. He rolled to a front-running score in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 5. His margin of victory in the Big Cap was named the meet’s Outstanding Achievement.
Baffert won his record 11th Santa Anita training title and was voted Trainer of the Meet for the third straight time. Baffert won for the ninth time since balloting was initiated in 1972-73, adding to his poll record. The 60-year-old Arizona native won 38 races from 179 starters. He also led in stakes wins with 11 and purse earnings with $3,537,630.
Rafael Bejarano led from flag fall to finish in the jockeys’ race, outdistancing runner-up Edwin Maldonado, 93-62, to earn honors as Outstanding Jockey. It was the fourth Santa Anita riding title for the 30-year-old native of Peru, who also led in stakes victories with 12 and purse earnings with $4,575,024.
Joyful Victory, who posted a smashing four-length victory in the Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes for owner Fox Hill Farms and trainer Larry Jones, was named the meet’s top Older Filly or Mare.
Suggestive Boy, who gave Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally career victory 700 at Santa Anita when he won the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile on March 2, also won the Grade II Arcadia Stakes to be named Outstanding Grass Horse. Suggestive Boy’s owner is Jose Cerillo of Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico, who races as Pozo de Luna, Inc.
Mizdirection, 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner, captured three grass stakes at the meet--the Grade II Monrovia Stakes, the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes and the Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes--to be named outstanding Grass Filly or Mare.
Mizdirection’s owners are famed radio and TV sports talk host Jim Rome, who races as Jungle Racing LLC; William Strauss, Daniel Grohs, Kevin Nish, Michael Kramek and Boris Beljak.
Goldencents, who rebounded from defeat after a controversial pace duel in the San Felipe Stakes to win the Santa Anita Derby, was named Outstanding 3-year-old.
The chestnut son of Into Mischief is owned by Glenn Sorgenstein and Joshua Kaplan of Santa Monica, campaigning as W.C. Racing; David Kenney of Yorba Linda; and head basketball coach at the University of Louisville Rick Pitino, who guided the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA championship. Pitino's nom de course is RAP Racing.
Breeders’ Cup champion 2-year-old filly of 2012 Beholder was a unanimous winner as Outstanding 3-year-old filly by virtue of convincing scores in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes and the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks for Richard Mandella, who trains the daughter of Henny Hughes for the Spendthrift Farm of B. Wayne Hughes.
Hughes also owns Jimmy Creed, who won the Grade I Malibu Stakes and the Grade II Potrero Grande Stakes to earn honors as Outstanding Sprinter. Hughes was named the meet’s Outstanding Owner thanks to his four graded stakes wins, three of them Grade I’s.
Spit Ball, a 4-year-old Florida-bred gelding, was named Claiming Horse of the Meet. The chestnut son of Olmodavor was trained by Ron Ellis for owner Steve Zolotas when he won for the fourth time on April 4, in a $25,000 claiming race at 1 1/16 miles.
There were 23 claims in for Spit Ball after the race, and he went to trainer Bob Hess Jr. for owner Roddy Valente.
Prior to the April 4 win, Spit Ball broke his maiden at Santa Anita for $20,000 going seven furlongs on Jan. 4; won a $12,500 claimer at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 9; and jumped up to win at $20,000 going a mile and a sixteenth on March 9.
The Santa Anita Derby, in which Goldencents repulsed a stretch bid from favored Flashback, was named Race of the Meet.
2012-13 Santa Anita Winter/Spring Media Poll
Horse of Meet: Game On Dude
Sprinter: Jimmy Creed
Older Horse: Game On Dude
Claimer: Spit Ball
Older Filly/Mare: Joyful Victory
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Grass Horse: Suggestive Boy
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Grass Filly/Mare: Mizdirection
Race: Santa Anita Derby
3-Year-Old Filly: Beholder
Owner: Spendthrift Farm, Hughes
Achievement: Big 'Cap Winning Margin